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AB-1391 Forest resources: state responsibility area fire prevention: vegetation management.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/24/2017 02:28 PM
AB1391:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 24, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1391


Introduced by Assembly Member Patterson

February 17, 2017


An act to amend Section 4794 4214 of the Public Resources Code, relating to forestry.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1391, as amended, Patterson. Forest resources: forestry assistance program: state responsibility area fire prevention: vegetation management.
Existing law establishes the forestry assistance program, to be conducted by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which is required to encourage forest resource improvements and otherwise facilitate good forest land management through a program of financial, technical, and educational assistance, as well as through applied research. Existing law authorizes the director of the department to enter into agreements or make loans for certain purposes, including the preparation of management plans for forest lands. requires the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to establish a fire prevention fee in an amount not to exceed $150 to be charged on each habitable structure on a parcel that is within a state responsibility area. Existing law requires the fee moneys to be expended, upon appropriation, in specified ways, including to reimburse the State Board of Equalization’s expenses incurred in the collection of the fee and to the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection and to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for administrative purposes, with excess moneys being expended only for specified fire prevention activities, as provided. Existing law requires a person who owns, leases, controls, operates, or maintains a building or structure in, upon, or adjoining a land with various types of flammable material, including forest-covered lands, to maintain defensible space of 100 feet, as provided.
This bill would authorize the director to enter into an agreement with, or make a loan to, fee money to be expended to provide loans or grants to a person who is at or below 500% of the federal poverty level for purposes of complying with the above law.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 4214 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

4214.
 (a) Fire prevention fees collected pursuant to this chapter shall be expended, upon appropriation by the Legislature, as follows:
(1) The State Board of Equalization shall retain moneys necessary for the payment of refunds pursuant to Section 4228 and reimbursement of the State Board of Equalization for expenses incurred in the collection of the fee.
(2) The moneys collected, other than those retained by the State Board of Equalization pursuant to paragraph (1), shall be deposited into the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury, and shall be available to the board and the department to expend for fire prevention activities specified in subdivision (d) that benefit the owners of habitable structures within a state responsibility area who are required to pay the fire prevention fee. The amount expended to benefit the owners of habitable structures within a state responsibility area shall be commensurate with the amount collected from the owners within that state responsibility area. All moneys in excess of the costs of administration of the board and the department shall be expended only for fire prevention activities in counties with state responsibility areas.
(b) (1) The fund may also be used to cover the costs of administering this chapter.
(2) The fund shall cover all startup costs incurred over a period not to exceed two years.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the moneys in this fund be fully appropriated to the board and the department each year in order to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.
(d) Moneys in the fund shall be used only for the following fire prevention activities, which shall benefit owners of habitable structures within the state responsibility areas who are required to pay the annual fire prevention fee pursuant to this chapter:
(1) Local assistance grants pursuant to subdivision (e).
(2) Grants to Fire Safe Councils, the California Conservation Corps, or certified local conservation corps for fire prevention projects and activities in the state responsibility areas.
(3) Grants to a qualified nonprofit organization with a demonstrated ability to satisfactorily plan, implement, and complete a fire prevention project applicable to the state responsibility areas. The department may establish other qualifying criteria.
(4) Inspections by the department for compliance with defensible space requirements around habitable structures in state responsibility areas as required by Section 4291.
(5) (A) Loans and grants to persons subject to the annual fire prevention fee pursuant to this chapter for purposes of performing vegetation management as required pursuant to Section 4291.
(B) The director shall only enter into loans and grants pursuant to this paragraph with a person described in subparagraph (A) who is at or below 500 percent of the federal poverty level.

(5)

(6) Public education to reduce fire risk in the state responsibility areas.

(6)

(7) Fire severity and fire hazard mapping by the department in the state responsibility areas.

(7)

(8) Other fire prevention projects in the state responsibility areas, authorized by the board.
(e) (1) The board shall establish a local assistance grant program for fire prevention activities designed to benefit habitable structures within state responsibility areas, including public education, that are provided by counties and other local agencies, including special districts, with state responsibility areas within their jurisdictions.
(2) In order to ensure an equitable distribution of funds, the amount of each grant shall be based on the number of habitable structures in state responsibility areas for which the applicant is legally responsible and the amount of moneys made available in the annual Budget Act for this local assistance grant program.
(f) By January 31, 2015, and annually thereafter, the board shall submit to the Legislature a written report on the status and uses of the fund pursuant to this chapter. The written report shall also include an evaluation of the benefits received by counties based on the number of habitable structures in state responsibility areas within their jurisdictions, the effectiveness of the board’s grant programs, the number of defensible space inspections in the reporting period, the degree of compliance with defensible space requirements, measures to increase compliance, if any, and any recommendations to the Legislature.
(g) (1) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under subdivision (f) is inoperative on January 31, 2017, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.
(2) A report to be submitted pursuant to subdivision (f) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(h) It is essential that this article be implemented without delay. To permit timely implementation, the department may contract for services related to the establishment of the fire prevention fee collection process. For this purpose only, and for a period not to exceed 24 months, the provisions of the Public Contract Code or any other provision of law related to public contracting shall not apply.

SECTION 1.Section 4794 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:
4794.

(a)Agreements may be entered into and loans may be made by the director pursuant to this chapter for all of the following purposes:

(1)Preparation of management plans for forest land.

(2)Site preparation.

(3)Planting and costs of seeds and seedlings.

(4)Young growth stand improvement.

(5)Forest land conservation measures.

(6)Fish and wildlife habitat improvement.

(7)Followup work.

(8)(A)Vegetation management as required pursuant to Section 4291.

(B)The director may only enter into an agreement with, or make a loan to, a person who is at or below 500 percent of the federal poverty level, for purposes of this paragraph.

Consistent with this section, the director shall prepare, and submit to the board for its review and approval, guidelines further specifying the scope of forest resource improvement work for which agreements may be entered into or loans made pursuant to this chapter.

(b)Proposed forest resource improvement projects may combine work described in paragraphs (1) to (8), inclusive, of subdivision (a). Projects shall include work described in paragraphs (1) to (8), inclusive, of subdivision (a) to be eligible for a cost-sharing agreement signed pursuant to Section 4795 or a loan made pursuant to Section 4796.

(c)Projects for forest resource improvement subsequent to harvesting subject to the Z’berg-Nejedly Forest Practice Act of 1973, Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 4511) of Part 2, shall not be eligible for agreements executed pursuant to Section 4795 or loans made pursuant to Section 4796 of this chapter unless either of the following occur:

(1)The land has been restocked and the established forest growth has subsequently been adversely affected by fire, wind, flood, insects, disease, or other natural causes.

(2)The work to be undertaken is not otherwise required to be carried out pursuant to the Z’berg-Nejedly Forest Practice Act of 1973, Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 4511) of Part 2.